Video published October 18, 2017
Thank you to videographer Derrick Periera and Editor John Meyers
It has become clear that in order for young players to flourish in soccer it requires an unrealistic amount of money, time and resources. The players who are privileged enough to play at the elite level receive high quality coaching, state of the art equipment and training facilities. This gives those players an advantage. For families who can’t afford the high cost their youth are left with the option of playing at the recreational level or not playing at all. The recreational level often has untrained parents as coaches, low quality training, equipment and facilities. PCFC was created out of a growing need for a soccer club that would provide a high quality playing experience for youth in Portland without the high expense. In the Fall of 2012 Kaig Lightner, Founder and Director of Coaching, began to develop the concept of PCFC in coordination with some passionate and frustrated soccer parents.
Our Commitment To Diversity
As the pieces began to fall into place it became clear that not only did PCFC need to be accessible to athletes and families from low-income communities but there was also an opportunity to make sure that athletes, coaches and families from the LGBTQ community had a place to feel welcomed and accepted. The motivation for this particular outreach came specifically from Kaig identifying as a queer, transgender man and a member of the LGBTQ community. He strongly believes that no youth, parent or coach should ever feel excluded or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. While LGBTQ acceptance is becoming more common in the population at large it is still not an idea that is widely accepted in the sports community, particularly within youth athletics. PCFC is dedicated to providing a safe and inclusive environment while also giving athletes the opportunity to build their skills, make new friends and love the beautiful game of football.
PCFC's mission is to offer high quality, low-cost soccer to all youth in the Portland Metro area. Many soccer clubs claim to be inclusive of diverse communities but they simultaneously exclude many players and their families because of the financial barrier to play. We ask for parents to pay varying amounts for different seasons, but this is always just a suggested amount. Any amount that parents can pay is accepted. Any amount that is paid above the suggested amount is considered a donation to help subsidize other players. But there are other barriers beyond money that are often less obvious.
- Language and cultural barriers. We work hard to make sure that all our forms are translated into Spanish as this tends to be the second most common language spoken amongst families who access our programs. We also strive to recruit coaches who can assist with translation during in person conversations. It is also important to our mission that our staff reflect the communities that we serve. In addition to these steps PCFC also seeks out partnerships with other culturally specific organizations (ie, Self-Enhancement Inc, St. Andrews School, AC Portland, New Columbia Neighborhood and Native American Youth Assoc.).
- Transportation and socio-econmic barriers. These also prevent many youth from participating in high quality soccer clubs. As a result PCFC is dedicated to eliminating these barriers by assisting parents in finding transportation solutions such as carpool or we coordinate with other organizations who have access to multi-person vehicles. Unfortunately, parents who work multiple jobs or work odd hour jobs aren't always able to drive their kids to and from practices and games. That's why PCFC assists with not only getting kids to and from these events, but also understands when a player might have to miss a practice or game due to these barriers. We never punish a player for these things nor does it ever affect their place on their team. We also aim to eliminate the technology barrier that often prevents families in low-income communities from having equal access to clubs. We do not require parents to have an email address or to only exclusively use email for communication. Our Director of Coaching and coaches makes phone calls regularly to check in with families about their youth's participation in each season. PCFC believes that connecting with people through any means is the most important even if it takes more time and effort.
Kaig Lightner, Founder, Director of Coaching
Kaig holds a USSF National ‘C’ Coaching License. He has been coaching and working with youth for over 20 years. He grew up in Redmond, WA and began playing soccer at the age of eight along with basketball, softball and volleyball. Kaig took a short hiatus from soccer from 2001 – 2003. During that time he was on the nationally ranked #1 rowing team at the University of Washington. As a novice rower he earned the title of most inspirational. Ultimately, Kaig found the beautiful game of soccer to be his true passion. In 2003 he came back to coaching and was the head coach of several competitive and recreational level teams in Seattle in addition to coaching at many summer camps. In 2005 Kaig moved to Portland where he was the Head Coach of a U12 girls team and Co-Coach of a U15 girls team at Eastside United FC (now Eastside Timbers). During his time at ESUFC he also ran the speed and agility clinics and was the director of the U6-U8 Developmental League. He left ESUFC in 2007 and returned to coaching recreational teams for Laurelhurst Soccer Club. It was also during this time that Kaig decided to begin the process of transitioning from living as female to living as male. This was a challenging and also incredibly rewarding process for him. In 2007 he also co-founded Transactive, a non-profit that serves transgender children, youth and their families. Kaig has also been the Program Director for various after school programs and a caseworker for the Department of Human Services. He earned his Masters in Social Work degree from Portland State University in 2012.
Andrew Mockett, Co-Head Coach U18
Connection to a community, a simple source of joy, a new challenge—soccer means something different to everyone. For Portland Community Football Club (PCFC) coach Andrew Mockett it means hope. Or as he wryly puts it, “Hope, passion, disappointment, frustration, then the hope again.” Andrew’s seen some of each in his journey with the game, which began as a schoolboy in Essex England where conditions were... informal. “We never practiced, showed up to the away games in 2 or 3 cars, and often got lost. Even for the first team, there were only 11 jerseys, so the sub would swap shirts with the departing teammate as they came off the field.” Andrew was was hooked by that early taste of the game though, and Essex backroads eventually became a stint with West Ham United’s Under-16s and then a playing scholarship across the pond at California State University Bakersfield. It was in the United States that Andrew began coaching high school and club teams, first in Bakersfield and then in Portland when he moved here with his family in 2008. A lifelong fan of the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, Andrew was back in England attending a match at Wembley Stadium when they showed Portland Spurs, the official Portland supporters club, on the big screen. After the game he looked the group up, saw that they were fundraising for PCFC, and soon made the connection to start volunteering for PCFC as a coach. From England to Bakersfield to Portland, Andrew aims to share the joy he’s found in the global game with PCFC players: “My main goals is to give these kids the chance to be a part of a team, to work together and improve along the way. If they are enjoying themselves and learning, then I think I’ve done my job.”
Betty Lochner, Co-Head Coach U18
Cody Wetherill, Co-Head Coach U14 - Competitive Level
Cody has been playing soccer for over 25 years at various levels including recreational, premier, ODP, and collegiate club. He attended Eastern Washington University where he split time between his passions for soccer and film, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film in 2006. He soon moved back to Portland where he worked in various roles in television and film production and was a camp counselor for youth programs. In 2014, he began coaching with PCFC. Along with coaching, he continues to play in indoor and outdoor leagues and is an avid fan and supporter of the Portland Timbers.
Patricio Manueco, Assistant coach/Fitness and Conditioning coach
My name is Patricio Manueco, a multi-cultural coach passionate about soccer. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to share my passion, knowledge, and experiences gained from this great game with talented kids around the world. Inspiring the future generation of soccer players in Portland is one of my key missions and volunteering for PCFC, a great local project, allows me to stay involved and connected to Portland’s soccer-rich community. My core focus is on strengthening our soccer players by motivating, inspiring and connecting that seed of greatness in all of them through soccer.
Kirstin Soldevilla, Co-Head Coach U14 - Competitive Level (currently in-active)
Kirstin is a Portland native who grew-up playing soccer at the premier level and on the Oregon ODP (Olympic Development Program) team. Throughout her youth she was a key player on LOSC and various traveling teams throughout the metro area. She played as a starter on the LOHS Varsity team for three years, where they came within sight of the State Championship with both quarterfinal and semifinal finishes, and was named to an All-League team with All-State honors. During her sophomore year of high school she leveraged her skills as a soccer player to walk on to the varsity lacrosse team, and helped the team transform into State Champions. After winning the State Championship both her Junior and Senior years, she was nominated to the All-American team and given the “Coaches Award” two years in a row for her ability to excel in any position on the field. Despite earning multiple opportunities to play both soccer and lacrosse at DI and DIII schools, Kirstin decided to pursue other interests at the University of Denver and earned a BSBA in Business, and Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management as well as Minor in Management. In addition to helping coach the PCFC teams, Kirstin enjoys playing futsal and indoor soccer as well as watching the Spanish national team play. She also loves trying new restaurants, exploring cities around the world, and keeping her two rescued puppies from getting into too much trouble.